This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with leading professionals. In this blog, I interview Mike Daconta. I have shared interviews with Mike before due to his internationally acknowledged expertise in technology and business. His insights are clearly illustrated in this podcast which speaks to Mike’s in-depth experience with data management.
Mr. Daconta is the Chief of Enterprise Data Management for Oberon Associates, Inc. and currently leading several data management projects for customers including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Mr. Daconta is a well-known author, lecturer and columnist having authored or co-authored 11 technical books, numerous magazine articles and online columns.
Previously, Mr. Daconta was the Metadata Program Manager for the Department of Homeland Security where he spearheaded data standardization, stewardship, and metadata registration. He was selected by the Office of Management and Budget and the Federal CIO Council to lead the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) Data Reference Model (DRM) Working group which successfully delivered DRM V2.0 in December 2005. In conjunction with the Department of Justice he launched the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) to provide a reusable set of core XML components for building exchange packages. For his work at DHS, Mr. Daconta was selected to the prestigious "Fed 100" by Federal Computer Week magazine. Other past assignments include the Chief Architect of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Virtual Knowledge Base Project and designer of the electronic mortgage XML standard for Fannie Mae. Mr. Daconta recently was awarded patent #7299408 by the USPTO for his electronic validator he invented for Fannie Mae.
His most recent book is entitled, "Information As Product: How to deliver the right information to the right person at the right time". His other books cover the Semantic Web, XML, XUL, Java, C++ and C.
He earned his Masters degree in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University and his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from New York University. See his website: http://www.daconta.us for more information.
To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link
Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic
Can you describe your work as the Metadata Program Manager for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)?
"…The number one thing was to educate the community….a huge integration challenge….but not only did we have an information integration challenge but at the same time a large crisis type mandate from the federal government (regarding) information sharing – which is a key component of data management…"
What were the key takeaways from being selected by the Office of Management and Budget and the Federal CIO Council to lead the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) Data Reference Model (DRM) Working group?
"…You put things out there….and the goal is that people use them and find them useful. One thing related to the Data Reference Model…..The Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment (PMISE) put out their architecture and the two main components of their architecture (in terms of the data) was the Data Reference Model and the National Information Exchange Model. So the fact that the PMISE adopted the work that we did was very rewarding… "
With the Department of Justice you launched the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) to provide a reusable set of core XML components for building exchange packages. What lessons do you wish to share from this work?
"…This is not just theoretical, this is a messaging set of standards…..It will build messages more quickly….If your listeners want to check it out, see www.niem.gov….This has been used successfully and two examples are….Amber Alert…as well as the standard before (the predecessor to NIEM), was used in the Sex Offender Registry…"
What were the key features of your Virtual Knowledge Base Project?
"…There were two key driving visions to the system…..targetless query and targetless production…."
Can you overview your Fannie Mae contributions?
"…They called the concept SMART Doc…If you go onto the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization (MISMO) website and you look at their electronic mortgage specifications, you will see that it is called SMART Doc (and the registered trademark of MISMO)…The first thing for Fanny Mae I built the electronic mortgage specification…if you go download that spec you see how XML is used and how the view is linked to the semantic model etc…."
What were your main objectives behind your most recent book: "Information As Product: How to deliver the right information to the right person at the right time"?
"….One of the motivations behind the book was to take that slogan (how to deliver the right information to the right person at the right time) and to make it real….To take this slogan and to turn it into reality there were two things that I had to do….Leverage lessons learned from other industries….also…..I had to redefine metadata…"
From your book, "Information as Product", can you overview "The Information As Product Landscape"?
"….That is a diagram at the conclusion of the book which takes the entire book and shows how the chapters and parts of the book all fit together into a cohesive whole…."
Mike shares a couple of surprising stories from his work.
Can you make 3 predications for 2008 and describe their implications, and business opportunity?
"….The first one is obvious, very likely to happen – smart phones go mainstream (the ramifications)……Second, Email gets smart and social…..and finally, I think we are going too see information products get serious and proliferate…."
If you were doing this interview, are there any questions you would ask and what would be your answers?
"…A question I get asked a lot: Why the switch to Information Management?….and….What is the biggest problem you see with the IT industry today?…."